By: Mir M.Hosseini
Abbas Mirza's death on his way to Kandahar in 1834, created a power vacuum in Ariana, eastern Iran. The British used this situation to create a shield between Iran and India and sent Alexander Burnes disguised as a merchant to Kabul. He succeeded in toppling Dost Mohammad Khan and replacing him with Shojaolmolk. But in 1839 when they deployed 5000 soldiers to Ariana, Afghans revolted and killed all of them including Burnes and Shojaolmolk.
In 1841 16,500 more British troops were deployed but they were defeated and on the way back were all killed in Jalalabad. Dost Mohammad Khan returned to power and fought with the British forces until a treaty was signed in Peshawar on March, 30, 1855, bringing Herat under British guardianship. That led to Iran's deployment of troops and taking Herat back on Oct, 25. The British, unhappy with the situation and knowing that Iran was run by a weak ruler declared war on Iran on Nov, 1, 1856. This war ended after 4 days with Iranian defeat followed by the infamous Paris treaty 17 months later. Iran ultimately agreed to surrender its claims to Herat.
In the context of the Great Game, the British wished for Afghanistan to remain as a buffer against Russian expansion towards India. During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), an aggressive expansionist policy was observed by Britain.